Magnolia Elementary School second-grade teacher Amy Lea and Bear Branch Junior High School U.S. History teacher Dawn Warren were named 2012-2013 teachers of the year for Magnolia ISD at a May 2 banquet at Magnolia West High School.The district named a teacher of the year for each of its 15 campuses before announcing one top honor for elementary school and one top honor among secondary teachers.
Warren, a 20-year veteran teacher who currently teaches eighth-graders, has worked in Magnolia ISD for five years. Lea, who has been a teacher for 13 years, has worked in the district for eight years.
"Magnolia's a great place to be," Lea said. "We do it all for the kids."
Magnolia ISD also honored 15 paraprofessionals of the year—one from each campus—and named Penny Gunn, who works at Magnolia Parkway Elementary School, as the paraprofessional of the year. A paraprofessional refers to anyone who works for the district on the administrative side.
The district recognized educators who are retiring and those who had been with the district for extensive years of service, including Christine Koebelen, who has worked in Magnolia ISD for 35 years, and Cynthia Loner, who has worked in the district for 40 years.
"This is my favorite event of the year," Magnolia ISD Superintendent Todd Stephens told a crowd of more than 300 district employees, board members and representatives from local businesses. "Tonight we have the opportunity to recognize outstanding teachers in the district."
The teachers of the year received hundreds of dollars in gifts and services from more than two dozen local businesses, including an iPad Mini, Kindle Fire and a Coach purse and watch. Local businesses donated more than $10,000 in gifts to the teachers of the year, the district said.
The teachers also received $1,000 each to spend in their classroom from Quality of Life Chiropractic in Magnolia. The office of Dr. Jamie Marshall donated 100 percent of the $40 fee it charges new patients to the non-profit Magnolia Education Foundation, which gives grants to teachers to purchase extra learning tools for their classrooms. The foundation then presented the money to the two teachers of the year.
"They are very deserving; our teachers work very hard," said Rhonda Block, a spokeswoman for Qualify of Life Chiropractic.
This year's award is the largest the Magnolia Education Foundation has given to the teachers of the year, said Pam Rogers, president of the foundation. In year's past, the non-profit has given about $250 each.
Magnolia High School Principal Jeff Springer was also recognized at the event for his honor as Texas High School Principal of the Year by the Texas Association of Secondary School Principals.
"Thank you for inspiring the children of Magnolia ISD," Charlie Riley, president of the Magnolia ISD school board, told the room full of educators. "The great teachers inspire. It is clear to me tonight, we are in the presence of greatness. We owe much of who we are to great teachers."
Teachers of the year:
Susan Buchholz—Bear Branch Elementary
Holly Campbell—Ellisor Elementary
Kristin Sajewski—Lyon Elementary
Amy Lea—Magnolia Elementary
Carolyn Kurten—Magnolia Parkway Elementary
Joyce Stewart—Nichols Sawmill Elementary
Andrea Poole—Smith Elementary
Jennifer Johnson—Williams Elementary
Jaclene Adamson—Bear Branch 6th Grade
Mary Carpenter—Magnolia 6th Grade
Dawn Warren—Bear Branch Jr. High
Amanda Duree—Magnolia Jr. High
Rachelle Copeland—Magnolia High School
Kristen Betts—Magnolia West High School